Butt Workouts at Home: 5 Ways to Build a Better Booty

Written by Stefanie Lisa, CPT, CFN

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Over the years, there has been an incredible fascination with the “booty,” also known as the peach, badonkadonk, tush, heinie, derriere, rump, caboose, backside, fanny, keister, humps, and more. But, before you start taking “belfies” (i.e., a selfie of one’s butt), you may want to check out how to build a better booty with these 5 butt workouts at home.

You’re probably wondering: Is it really possible to do get a good butt workout at home? The answer may be a little shocking as one would think you need to lift a lot of heavy weights to get a nicely shaped rear end. But, the truth is, yes, you can build, tone, and strengthen at home. There’s no need to get to a gym or work out for hours upon hours—even when it comes to the backside.

What Is a Booty?

Before we get into the best butt workouts at home, it may be helpful to share exactly which muscles make up a booty (yes, there are more than one), so you can have a better understanding when it comes to working out your booty properly.

Science refers to the “booty” as the “posterior chain.” You may have thought your booty was just one muscle you could isolate, but the reality is the booty is comprised of three separate gluteus muscles: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.

  • Gluteus Maximus—as the largest of the three “butt” muscles, the gluteus maximus helps to move your torso forward. Movements like standing up from a seated position, jogging and walking, lunging and stepping are all generated with help from these muscles.
  • Gluteus Medius—lifting your legs, rotating your legs and hips, and walking are all done with the help of this set of muscles.
  • Glueteus Minimus—this smaller muscle lies under the gluteus medius and aids in hip extension.

Why Is a Better Booty a Good Thing?

Besides the obvious (looking amazing in your favorite pair of jeans), what are the benefits doing butt workouts at home?

  • Prevent back and knee pain—keeping your pelvis stable is a big job, and this is where your glutes come into play. A stable core and booty are part of the “girdle” that keeps your body stabilized and strong.
  • Your booty is part of a strong core—the posterior chain supports a good portion of your body, including your hips, knees, ankles, thoracic and lumbar spine, and other surrounding muscles and joints.
  • Better athleticism—a strong booty will help to power your entire body through athletic activities and will help you avoid unnecessary pulls and strains due to imbalances.
  • Look better—let’s face it, a nice side benefit of having a strong and well-developed booty is that you’ll feel good about yourself and you’ll look great in your jeans!

The 5 Best Butt Workouts at Home

So, how do you build a better booty? Here’s are 5 fun butt workouts you can try at home (or at the gym) to build, tighten, and strengthen this large muscle group.

Always remember to warm up first, especially when you’re working legs. Think about getting the blood flow going to increase the lubrication in your hips, knees, and ankles and to warm up your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves to help prevent injury. Walk or jog in place for 5 – 10 minutes or try jumping rope or doing 2 sets of 20 jumping jacks to start.

Because science shows that single-limb exercises are most effective for activating the glute muscles, we’ve listed a few single-limb exercises you can easily do to boost your butt workouts at home.

1. Single Leg Deadlift

You can perform this exercise with a kettlebell or a dumbbell, or if you don’t have either, try using a gallon water jug. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. While grasping the kettlebell in your right hand, lift your left leg, and stretch it straight out and to the back while leaning forward at the same time. Keep your core straight and bend only at the hips. Once your torso and left leg are parallel to the ground, hold for a moment, and then return to the starting position. Perform ten repetitions, and then repeat on the opposite side.

Note: Outside of this being one of the best butt workouts at home, it is shown to really improve balance. But if you find yourself falling forward or tipping to the side, you can lightly rest the hand not holding the weight on a wall or chair until your balance improves.

2. Step-Ups

Step-ups really help to activate the glutes. Begin by standing in front of a stable surface (usually at least 12 inches high or more). This exercise can be done with a kettlebell or dumbbell in each hand to intensify your results. With your feet hip-width apart, step your right foot up onto the platform. Push through your right heel and squeeze your glutes to lift your body up onto the step while straightening your body. Step back down slowly with your right foot and repeat on the opposite side. Alternate legs for ten repetitions on each side.

3. Glute Thrust

You may see some folks doing these with a barbell, but for our purposes, we will be doing this exercise with a kettlebell, dumbbell, or with your gallon jug of water. Begin by sitting on the floor in front of your couch, bench, or another stable surface with your shoulders resting on the edge. Elevate your shoulders by placing them behind your head or spreading your arms out to each side, along the seat. (Remember to keep your arms relaxed as this is a lower body exercise, and you aren’t lifting your body with your arms.) Lift your hips up until your upper back is lying flat on the seat with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Keep your shoulders firmly on the seat with your booty extended off the couch. Your body is in a straight line (held up by those bent legs on one end and your shoulders on the seat). This is the starting position. Keeping your shoulders blades firmly planted, lower your glutes back toward the floor. Your spine will stay in a straight line, so your head and upper back will lift up as you lower the hips. Throughout the exercise, keep your legs facing the opposite wall. You’ll feel the movement throughout the entire core as well as in the hips, glutes, and even in your abdominals.

If this exercise is too challenging right now, you can start with a glute bridge. To perform this exercise, lie down on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor with your heels as close to your butt as is comfortable. Keeping your core tight and your head and shoulders on the ground, use your glutes to lift your hips up off the floor and then squeeze the butt at the top, keeping the top of your body nice and flat. To activate the glutes and get the most from this butt workout at home, avoid arching the lower back—keep a neutral spine.

Once you’re able to do a few sets of 10 repetitions, you can challenge yourself by adding weight by grasping a kettlebell and placing it on your pelvic area.

Whichever variation you choose, hold for a few seconds at the top, squeezing the glutes, and repeat for 10 repetitions.

4. Walking Lunge

You can do this with weight or without. If you choose the no-weight option, place your hands on your hips. If using weight, hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. To begin, start in a standing position and take a large step forward with your right leg. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle. Then propel yourself forward and back up to a standing position by pushing up through your right heel and squeezing your glute muscles. Repeat on the opposite side and alternate legs for ten repetitions on each side.

5. Kettlebell Swing

Again, you can use a dumbbell or your gallon water jug if you don’t have a kettlebell. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and grasp the kettlebell in front of you with both hands. Squat down slightly and let the kettlebell swing backwards between your legs. When the kettlebell starts to move forward again, straighten your legs, squeeze your glutes, and swing the kettlebell upward and forward. As you perform the exercise, think about your hips and glutes swinging the kettlebell rather than your arms. Repeat ten times.

Butt Workouts at Home: A Recap

Do at least one round of all of the butt workouts at home and build up to three sets as your booty gets stronger. Before long, you’ll be ready for your best “belfie” (if you’re into that kind of thing, that is) or at least feel more confident in your favorite jeans while protecting your back and knees.

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References

  • McAllister MJ, Hammond KG, Schilling BK, Ferreria LC, Reed JP, Weiss LW. Muscle activation during various hamstring exercises. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2014 Jun 1;28(6):1573-80.
  • Youdas JW, Adams KE, Bertucci JE, Brooks KJ, Nelson MM, Hollman JH. Muscle activation levels of the gluteus maximus and medius during standing hip-joint-strengthening exercises using elastic-tubing resistance. Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. 2014 Feb;23(1):1-1.
  • Distefano LJ, Blackburn JT, Marshall SW, Padua DA. Gluteal muscle activation during common therapeutic exercises. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 2009 Jul;39(7):532-40.